The woman who was drugged and raped by Roman Polanski when she was just 13 has told the director’s wife she never considered it a “big deal”.
Interviewed by Emmanuelle Seigner in the French magazine Le Point, Samantha Geimer, now 60, said that the accident never had any lasting effects on her.
“I was fine, I’m still fine,” Ms. Geimer said in a wide-ranging interview where she bashed the MeToo movement.
The 1977 attack on Mrs. Geimer was one of the biggest scandals to rock Hollywood in decades.
Polanski, then 43, had invited the teenager to do a photo shoot at Jack Nicholson’s home for Vogue Magazine, where he was guest editor.
He filled Mrs. Geimer with champagne and the famous party drug Quaalude, before pounced on her.
Now, 46 years after the attack, Ms. Geimer has downplayed its impact on her.
“Let me be very clear: what happened with Polanski was never a big deal for me,” he said.
“I didn’t even know it was illegal, that someone could be arrested for it. I was fine, I’m still fine. The fact that we made this a big deal weighs on me terribly.
Following the attack, Polanski was arrested and served just 42 days in jail following a plea deal in which the prosecution dropped charges of rape by use of drugs, perversion, sodomy, indecent exposure to a child, and supply of a controlled substance to a minor.
In 1978, the Polish-born Oscar-winning director fled to France from the United States hours before his sentencing.
Now, aged 89, he remains at large, carefully avoiding countries with which the United States has an extradition treaty. Polanski has faced other sexual assault allegations, which he denies.
Ms Geimer has urged the US to drop the charges.
“People pretend to act in the name of justice, or because they support me, but that’s the antithesis of what I want and everything I say I want,” she said.
“Everyone should know by now that Roman has served his sentence. Which was… long, if you ask me. For my part, nobody wanted him to go to jail, but he did and that was enough. He paid his debt to the company. Here, end of story.
“He did everything he was asked until things got crazy, he had no choice but to flee. Anyone who thinks they deserve to be in prison is wrong. It’s not like this today and it wasn’t like this yesterday.”
Ms Geimer said she only felt she was a victim when she was hounded by the press and faced numerous court appearances.
“If anyone had anything to say about Roman, about any mistreatment, 1977 would have been a really good year to help me,” she added.
“Because with my family we couldn’t even leave the house anymore! Everyone was attacking us.
“No one has come to stand by my side and say, ‘Hey, you know what? I think he’s telling the truth because a similar thing happened to me.”
“It’s not that the story was private, it was in newspapers all over the world!
“But no, none, none of the women who claim to have had issues with Roman today bothered to contact me.”
During their conversation, Polanski’s wife Ms. Seigner said that sexual attitudes were different in the late 1970s.
“I remember the time when I was starting out: I became a model at 14,” she said.
“All the girls, the models, slept with the photographers and I was no exception. But sex was something normal, a natural part of life. There wasn’t all this drama, all this darkness surrounding sex.
Ms. Geimer agreed and appeared to be hitting on the MeToo movement.
“It’s sad for women, but especially for young women.
“Imagine reaching adulthood in this era, it feels scary. I don’t see what’s so feminist about reclaiming victimhood.
“Today, women’s pain is valued and there is an entire industry that exploits suffering. Those who participate in it do not know what they are getting into.
It also affected Gloria Allred, the feminist attorney, who took on the cases of women who complained of sexual assault.
Ms Allred, she said, ‘only belittles women to exploit their pain, I’m sorry but that’s not a defence.’
In response to Ms Geimer, Ms Allred told The Telegraph: “I have represented and continue to represent many victims of child sexual abuse in both civil cases and criminal proceedings against powerful men, including two who have brought charges against of order against Roman Polanski.
“Child sexual abuse is ‘a big problem’ for all the victims I represent.
“Mrs. Geimer’s attack on me will not discourage me or my clients. I will continue to argue that Roman Polanski should be returned to the United States to face sentencing.
“He shouldn’t be treated like an acclaimed director. Instead, he should be known as a fugitive from justice, who fled the United States, because he is unwilling to face a judge who will convict him of sexually victimizing a child.
Mrs. Seigner is Polanski’s third wife. His first marriage to actress Barbara Kwiatkowska ended in divorce in 1962 after three years. His second wife Sharon Tate was murdered by members of Charles Manson’s cult in 1969. He married Mrs. Seigner after she was cast in Polanski’s thriller Frantic.
Ms. Geimer wrote her memoir in 2013 – The Girl: A life in the Shadow of Roman Polanski. She said during the book promotion that her three children’s attitudes towards her case encouraged her to speak up.
Initially, she recalled, she and her family were hounded by the media and portrayed as gold diggers.
“You’ll notice the culture has changed so that everything has gone the other way and now it’s Roman the Monster,” he told The Guardian.
Despite being a fugitive from the United States and unable to work in Hollywood, Polanski’s career continued to flourish.
In 1979 he directed Tess, dedicated to the memory of Tate. The film won awards for best film and best director in France. He also received three Oscars.
Two years later, he directed and starred as Mozart in stage productions of Peter Shaffer’s play Amadeus.
In 1988 he made Frantic, a thriller starring Harrison Ford, where he met Ms Seigner.
His directing career continued into the 1990s with a string of films including Bitter Moon in 1992 and Fearless Vampire Killers in 1997.
The following year he was elected a member of the French Académie des Beaux-Arts.
In 2002 he directed The Pianist, based on the autobiography of Polish Jewish musician Wladyslaw Sziplman. Widely acclaimed, he has won awards on both sides of the Atlantic, including an Academy Award for Best Picture.
His career continued to flourish with his 2019 film An Officer and a Spy, winning a César Award in France and the Grand Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival. The 2020 César Award sparked a backlash with several actresses walking away.